Moulton Chapel poet Benjamin Zephaniah has died

One of the UK’s top poets and TV presenter Benjamin Zephaniah has died, his family have said.

Benjamin, originally from Birmingham but who has lived in Moulton Chapel for around 12-years, had been diagnosed with a brain tumour eight weeks ago before his death today (December 7) aged 65, a statement posted on social media said.

The statement says: “It is with great sadness and regret that we announce the death of our beloved husband, son and brother in the early hours of this morning, December 7, 2023.

“Benjamin was diagnosed with a brain tumour eight weeks ago.

“Benjamin’s wife was by his side throughout and was with him when he passed.

“We shared him with the world and we know many will be shocked and saddened by this news.

“Benjamin was a true pioneer and innovator, he gave the world so much.

“Through an amazing career including a huge body of poems, literature, music, television and radio, Benjamin leaves us with a joyful and fantastic legacy.

“Thank you for the love you have shown Professor Benjamin Zephaniah.”

Benjamin Zephaniah with Alan Barnsdale at Uptown Vinyl.

Benjamin left school unable to read or write but was inspired by the music and lyrics of Jamaica where his mother is from.

He moved to London and had his first book of poetry published in 1980, becoming one of the key voices in the country, particularly on race relations.

As well as his poetry he was known for acting, most notably in the hit TV show Peaky Blinders, and won a BAFTA in 2021 for presenting the Sky TV show Life and Rhymes.

On living in Moulton Chapel he told The Spalding Voice in 2021: “I love coming home, if coming home is not a joy then you are living in the wrong place. When I drive over the new blue bridge near Peterborough I relax because I’m home,” he said.

“I just relax there now and chill, the tension just flows out and I love it.”

Benjamin Zephaniah officially opening The Holbeach Bookshop alongside members of its committee. Picture by Ken Smith.

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